Angry Birds Star Wars — which costs AU$0.99 to buy on the iTunes app store and is free on Google Play — is being handled by Activision for its console distribution — and with that comes a significant price hike.
On PlayStation 3, that price is AU$39.95, which is consistent with Activision's RRP of US$39.99. Activision's RRP for the new generation consoles is not known, but Sony has the game priced at AU$52.95 here and US$49.99 in the US.
Now, we're just speculating here, but there could be a few reasons for the (much) higher cost. We're unwilling to buy the game (for obvious reasons) to find out whether it has microtransactions, like the mobile version of the game, but if it doesn't, perhaps Activision feels that it needs to "recoup" any funds not received through in-game purchases. It's also worth noting that Rovio built extra levels just for the console versions, although we can't imagine they add $39 worth of value.
And, of course, Activision would require a distributor's fee. We've reached out to Activision for comment and will update if we receive a reply.
We don't really feel that these speculated reasons adequately explain a price increase of 4000 per cent, but it gets worse: on Xbox 360 and Xbox One in Australia, the game comes in at a whopping AU$69.95 for both versions — compared to US$39.99 and US$49.99 respectively in the US. It certainly is a striking example of both publisher overpricing and the Australia tax combined — it's a price increase of 53 per cent for the Xbox 360 version and 22 per cent for the Xbox One version.
We've also reached out to Microsoft for comment; but its pricing seems to be pretty hard evidence that thedid very little to deter companies from slapping a hefty consumer cost increase on digital goods.